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Interest in a Bricklink missing/spare pieces bulk buy?
I'm sure you all have sets sitting around that are missing one or two pieces no longer available on Lego's spare pieces system. You've found those pieces on Bricklink, but they cost 10p and the min. buy is £10, and shipping would be £5, etc, and you thought it wasn't worth it.
I was just helping my brother find the pieces for a second-hand Technics motorbike he was given by his school's Mindstorms club. All the missing/substituted pieces could be found on Lego's customer service site, except for the fuel tank cover, a printed piece which is 'out of stock'. On Bricklink it's pretty cheap, but almost all the shops have a min. buy price or silly shipping.
So, that brings me to my main point. Are there enough of us out there to club together, make a list of all the one or two spare pieces we each want to buy and get them in one lot? Someone more experienced in Bricklink could work to get the best price (aren't there some programs for optimising your basket?) and then distribute them out by mail (everyone could pay an tiny bit extra to cover the cost of an envelope and stamps).
What do people think? If enough people are interested to make this serious, I'll start a new thread where you can actually list the parts you need.
(Of course, if there's a really obvious way to get those frustrating pieces that I've just completely missed, let me know...)
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Recent discussions •
One thing you can do is try asking a seller if they will override their minimum if it is for just one part. They might well charge you a bit extra to cover their PayPal, packaging and / or processing costs, but often they will allow it to get a sale - especially at this time of year when sales become rather slow.
This is actually quite helpful, as I don't use Bricklink, so I don't really know the ins-and-outs. I know the basics of how it works, but that's not really enough. Input from more experienced members is appreciated!
After that remember you have to agree the price per person, additional postage to get the parts from you to the other people...it's a bit of a nightmare in my opinion.
Most sellers on BL are fairly sensible. Contact them if you do just want one part and see if they'll make an exception. If not, they don't get a sale.
There are a handful of sellers who sell 'spares' individually on eBay. It's less likely if it's a rare part I suppose but no harm in checking. BrickOwl isn't as big as BL but many sellers are only selling on BO these days so it's definitely worth having a look.
Only in one set. Even the unprinted red one is only in one set. If I had the time I would go through a number of my other sets I know are missing pieces and put together my own order, but you know how it is...
The very first Brick Link store I see in a search for your part sells it at 10p and has no minimum buy. In this instance I don't see what your problem is.
A seller's been reading this thread perhaps? :)
I run a Bricklink store but think the idea of a bulk order would be introducing unneccessary complications. We can help you get underway with Bricklink.
I think the thing I knew least about Bricklink was how likely any individual shop is to have every piece one needs. From your responses, it seems this is unlikely, and it also send like this is the biggest barrier to the feasibility of the group buy (as it would put postage etc up to the same amount as if everyone just bought their one piece each).
What I tend to do when I'm after something on brick link is check a few of the stores that have the specific part I want then see what else they have in the way of other parts that I like, particularly for me Minifigures/fleshie parts, moulded animals, and some specific colours that I like building with, then order from the one that will give me the best value for what they have available.
Either on BrickLink or BrickOwl a good experience is more about the seller behind the store than the website. I had orders on BrickOwl that were paid right away but waited 3+ weeks for shipping, nothing I could do... On BrickLink I had an order not invoiced after a week, cancelled the order and went somewhere else.
The BrickLink quote system makes it also easier for a the buyer to know charges upfront and as a seller I also do not mind estimating S&H on actual order (before getting it ready) and cancelling if the buyer consider it to high.
1) many EU stores do tell you postage prices (for most common sized orders) and
2) many EU stores allow you to cancel if postage is higher than you expected. Bricklink may say it is a binding contract but that is out of the sellers hands. Of course the seller also has a right to leave feedback even if you don't go ahead with the transaction, and BL also has the right to ban you if you place many orders and cancel them.
It is true; a store has an obligation to present a total cost including all fees and charges before asking a customer to commit - it is a requirement EU-wide as of June 2014. It isn't voluntary. There are other obligations such as telling a customer of their right to return items for whatever reason within 14 days, which must be notified before and also after the sale (Brick Owl also fails in this regard). In some EU countries the seller would even be responsible for the cost of return postage unless they specifically state otherwise prior to accepting the order. I have yet to see either of these mentioned on BL. I'm not sure of the legality of punishing a customer with negative feedback simply because they asserted their consumer rights.
I can't remember if, as a buyer, BL requires you to actively tick a box to confirm agreement to all terms and conditions, but this is also an obligation in the EU - failure to do this makes the store's terms and conditions legally unenforceable (again, Brick Owl also fails in this regard). Some countries actually require that the terms and conditions be presented in their national language, or again they become unenforceable (France is one but not the only one).
Some BL stores also break the law by charging extra when buyers pay by PayPal. The law allows a retailer to charge more when a customer chooses to use a particular payment method but only if the extra amount represents the actual extra cost of making that payment method available. The extra charges don't always reflect a fair amount in my opinion.
My main BL bugbear though, and this applies to some BO stores also, is that most say "if you don't pay for insurance then we're not responsible if the package doesn't arrive." Er, yeah, under EU law the seller is definitely responsible, unless they themselves are a private individual rather than a business (including a sole trader); unless - and this would be a rare exception - the buyer arranges the shipping themselves.
The main reason I prefer BO over BL is that it puts the customer first. BL seems to be set up to make life as easy as possible for sellers despite some aspects of this actually making life much worse for buyers. For example, the listings pages are pretty worthless as far as price comparison goes, you have to click through to each and every store to check minimum buys, postage, extra charges, PayPal fees, etc. Some stores provide essays for terms and conditions; BL makes finding the cheapest deal very hard work indeed.
I understand completely why BL has evolved this way - without sellers there would be no buyers. But it has created a bubble within which all participants are expected to adhere to certain customs and practices, many of which give scant regard to the actual law. BO isn't perfect but it has tried to reverse some of this - and it should go further.
The BO shipping thingy works fine in my experience. If shipping ends up costing you more than the system charged then either you didn't allow enough tolerance in your shipping measurements for packaging, or one of the items ordered has no measurements in the database and the system has under-estimated the measurements. As a seller you are responsible for the former and can help sort out the latter (there's a link of all items without measurements/weights on your dashboard).
I'm not sure how you can say the BL quote system makes it easier up front - it's exactly the opposite - the buyer only finds out the actual total charge after committing to buy. Of course there's nothing stopping a buyer from messaging a seller in advance of committing, but the equivalent system on BO works with the shopping cart system and both buyer/seller can see exactly what they intend to order. After receiving the quote the buyer can proceed or pull out and at no stage have they committed to buy.
Allowing too much tolerance means over charging the buyer, something I don't like as a buyer myself (my exact problem was with selling empty LEGO boxes, as there are light, but requires a large box for them, 3x the weight of the original item)
The quote system in BrickLink is non binding, you use it instead of a check-out (not every store has enabled it). If you like the quote you receive, it creates the order from the quote.
I am talking about the quote system from BrickLink, not selecting "Quote" as a shipping option. Try it on my store if you want :)
I imagine most sellers have a static range of boxes and can thus set up their shipping methods accordingly. For the items you know are over-sized and require bespoke shipping - like empty Lego boxes - you can 'force quote' on them to give you the chance to check the shipping cost.